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Olympics: Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott lead U.S. softball over Italy

Olympics: Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott lead U.S. softball over Italy
Ace pitcher Cat Osterman threw six scoreless innings to lead Team USA over Italy their first softball game of the 2020 Summer Games on Wednesday in Fukushima, Japan. Photo by Jade Hewitt, courtesy of USA Softball

July 21 (UPI) -- Cat Osterman allowed just one hit and threw nine strikeouts in six scoreless innings to lead Team USA to a 2-0 win over Italy in their first softball game of the 2020 Summer Games on Wednesday in Fukushima, Japan.

Fellow ace pitcher Monica Abbott closed out the game with three consecutive strikeouts to earn a save and clinch the shutout victory at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium. The win was the Americans' first Olympic triumph since 2008, the last time softball was a sport at the Summer Games.

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Osterman did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. The Americans took a 1-0 lead on a Michelle Moultrie RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. First baseman Valerie Arioto scored on that hit to right field.

Left fielder Janie Reed plated Team USA's second run on a sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the fifth. Catcher Aubree Munro scored that run.

Osterman and Abbott, both members of Team USA's runner-up team in 2008, combined to retire the final nine hitters in order. Seven of those outs came via strikeout.

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Italy starter Greta Cecchetti did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. She allowed four runs and two hits in four innings.

The Americans battle Canada in their next game of the round-robin format tournament at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Fukushima. That game airs on NBCSN.

Notable Olympians returning to Summer Games

Simone Biles stands on the floor after winning the gold medal in the floor exercise at the Olympic Arena of the Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

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